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.
This year's European Youth Go Championship, held at the Budai Sport Hotel in Budapest March 8-10, was again dominated by Eastern European players. As last year, they won all three divisions: under 20, under 16, and under 12.
Seventeen youths from ten different countries competed in the U20 division. Slovak champion Pavol Lisy (6d) started out by beating Germany's Jonas Welticke (4d) and Israel's Ali Jabarin (6d) in rounds 1 and 2. Then he disposed of last year's winner and runner-up Lukas Podpera (6d, Czechia) and Aleksandr Vashurov (5d, Russia) in rounds 3 and 4, and finished by beating Frantisek Caha (5k, Czechia) and Dominik Boviz (3d, Hungary) to win the championship with a perfect 6-0 score. His opponents came in 5th, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, and 6th, respectively.
The U16 championship was contested by 47 players. Nearly a third were Hungarian, but it was Stepan Popov (3d, Russia) and Silvestru State (1d, Romania) who ended on top with identical 5-1 scores. Stepan had beaten Silvestru in round 2 and took first place on tie-breaking points despite losing his final game to Vjacheslav Kajmin (2d, Russia), who took third place. For Stepan it was a case of coming through on the third try: he had finished second in 2011 and 2012.
The U12 division had 64 contestants, with large blocs from Russia, Hungary, and the Ukraine. Valerii Krushelnytskyi (1d, Ukraine), the only dan-ranked player, defeated five Russian opponents and one Romanian opponent to finish first with a perfect 6-0 record for the second consecutive year.
By winning the U16 and U12 divisions, Stepan and Valerii earned berths in the World Youth Go Championship scheduled for August in Praha.
There was also a U99 McMahon side tournament, won by the Ukraine's Viktor Redila (8k).
Complete results, pictures, and further information are available at the tournament website.
Will some future history of go in the Netherlands refer to this decade, and perhaps several decades to come, as the Kuin dynasty? This year Merlijn and Marika Kuin, the Netherlands' outstanding go-playing couple, won both the Dutch Championship and the Dutch Women's Championship, as they also did in 2011. This was Merlijn's fifth championship and Marika's third.
The Dutch Championship was an 8-round Swiss system with 16 contestants, played at the European Go Cultural Centre in Amstelveen over a span of two weeks in January. Reigning champion Alexander Eerbeek and 2010 champion Geert Groenen got off to bad starts by losing their first games. So did Zeno van Ditzhuijzen, whose victory over Merlijn Kuin last year had given the 2012 championship to Alexander. Zeno then made a splended recovery by winning all seven of his remaining games, including another victory over Merlijn in round 5. This was Merlijn's only loss, so he and Zeno finished in a 1-2 tie with seven wins apiece while Frank Janssen took undisputed third place with six wins. Since the Dutch Championship is not awarded on the basis of tie-breaking points, a best-of-three playoff between Merlijn and Zeno was scheduled for mid-February.
While the championship rounds were finishing up on January 26-27, Marika Kuin sailed undefeated through the Dutch Women's Championship, as she also did in 2011 and 2012. Marieke Overbeek took second place with four wins in this 5-round, 8-player Swiss system. Please read Marika's perspective here. The championship playoff was held with live coverage on EuroGoTV. Merlijn won the first game, played at the EGCC on February 16, by resignation. Next day the playoff moved to the Hotel Theater Figi in Zeist and Merlijn won again, this time by 2.5 points. Full results of both championships, with clickable game records of the playoff (bekijk partij), are available here.
Two weeks before China's 16-year-old Fan Tingyu became the youngest player ever to gain a major international professional go title by winning the Ing Cup, 13-year-old He Yuhan showed that even younger players can gain big titles by winning the Amateur Tianyuan, a major national tournament in China. This is actually his second major triumph; he won the top youth division of the Lark Cup in 2011, at age 12.
Also known as the Qingyun Cup, the Amateur Tianyuan was played at the New World Hotel in Lishui on February 18-22. The tournament drew seventy amateur players to this city in a part of China noted for its forests and mineral resources. Most of the players had 5-dan rankings, but the field included three 7-dans: Hu Yuqing, Wang Chen, and Qian Liuru, who finished 1-2-4 in this year's Evening News Cup. He Yuhan was one of seventeen 6-dans. The tournament was run as a 9-round Swiss system with 75-minute time limits and no overtime.
He's first opponent was Sha Xingyu, who was five years older and had won the Hotel Cup last November. The game was played in the evening of February 18 and He made a good start by winning it. After drawing somewhat easier opponents in the next three rounds, He then scored his fifth straight victory by beating China's top-rated amateur Hu Yuqing in round 5 on February 20. In round 6 He beat the only other undefeated player left to take sole posession of the lead. Next morning, however, He lost to Qian Liuru. Hu Yuqing also lost in this round, to Feng Yi. He, Qian, and Feng won in the afternoon to stand neck-and-neck at 7-1.
The deciding final round was held on the morning of February 22. He's last opponent was Beijing University student Wang Tianyi, who won a gold medal playing xiangqi (Chinese chess) at the 2012 World Mind Games. Not only is Wang China's xiangqi champion; he is also rated among China's top fifty amateur go players, but He prevailed. Meanwhile Feng beat Qian to tie He with eight wins and one loss, but He had better SOS points. He's triumph brings honor to his native city of Chongqing and to the Nie Weiping Daochang where he trains.