Sponsored by the Dong-a Ilbo, Korea's leading newspaper, the Amateur Kuksu is Korea's leading amateur go tournament. The 46th holding of this event took place on December 15 and 16, 2012, at the Korean Baduk Association building in Seoul. Since the winner becomes the Korean player in the World Amateur Go Championship, it was only appropriate that the field of sixty-four included Kim Chanwoo, the first Korean to win the WAGC (in 1998), and Song Hongsuk, the fifth (in 2010). The field also included recent WAGC runner-ups Lee Hyunjoon and Choi Woosoo, 2012 Korea Prime Minister Cup winner Han Seungjoo, and 2011 KPMC runner-up Yu Byungyong. Kim Chanwoo, who turned in a glittering 10-1 performance in the 2012 National Baduk League, entered the Kuksu ranked 2nd in the senior division of Korea's amateur ranking system, while Song was ranked 13th and Choi Woosoo 2nd in the (stronger) junior division. Choi Woosoo's high rank came partly from winning the Lee Changho Cup in 2012.
The tournament was organized in the same way as the KPMC: six rounds played in two days. A notable loser in the first round was Jeon Junhak, winner of the 2012 Michuhol Cup, runner-up in the Lee Changho Cup, and holder of the number-one junior ranking. His loss came at the hands of Lee Juhyeong (11th junior ranking). Kim Chanwoo and Song Hongsuk also lost, as did Song Junhyup (18th jr), who walked away with most of the honors at the 2012 European Go Congress but now fell to Shin Yoonho (22nd jr).
The second round eliminated some more of Korea's best amateurs. Choi Hyeonjae, a quiet 20-year-old who likes children, who had recorded another 10-1 score in the National Baduk League, and who had beaten Song Hongsuk in round one, proceeded to upset the jovial Lee Hoseung (3rd jr) of pair-go fame. Six weeks before the Kuksu, Lee (this time with Jang Yunjeong) had won the International Amateur Pair Go Championship for a second straight year. Earlier in 2012 he had won his way into the BC Card Cup, LG Cup, and Olleh Cup, professional tournaments that reserve places for amateur participation. Getting these places and the chance to tackle and perhaps topple a big-name pro is a major goal for Korean amateurs, and Lee's triple success was a significant factor in his number-three junior ranking. Park Changmyeong, who had won places in the professional LG, Olleh, Myungin, and Samsung tournaments and was ranked junior 4th, lost to Han Seungjoo. Lee Hyunjoon also bowed out in this round.
The third round saw the depature of Choi Woosoo and Lee Juhyung, so of the contestants ranked in Korea's junior top twenty, only four were left in contention: Yu Byungyong (6th jr), Hong Mujin (8th jr), Kim Myeonghoon (9th jr), and Choi Hyeonjae (16th jr). Hong Mujin and Choi Hyeonjae met each other in the fourth round the next morning, the lower-ranked Choi winning. Kim Myeonghoon survived his game, but Yu was upset by Kim Chiwoo, who won the Cho Namchul Kuksu Cup, a national tournament for children, at age 11 in 2005, and KPMC champion Han Seungjoo was eliminated by Shin Yoonho.
In the semifinal round Kim Chiwoo scored another upset by downing Kim Myeonghoon, but Choi Hyeonjae finally overcame Shin Yoonho, and then won the deciding game with Kim to capture the Kuksu title. Besides earning a shot at becoming the sixth Korean world amateur champion in Sendai next September, Choi took home a prize of 2 million won (close to $2000) and improved his junior ranking from 16th to 7th. And Korea had again demonstrated its ability to stand rankings on their head and produce yet another young new title winner.
The second edition of SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing closed on 19 December 2012 and turned out as a great success. The cooperation of SportAccord, the Local Organising Committee and the participating International Federations of Chess, Bridge, Draughts, Go, Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) and International Mind Sports Association brought positive results and led to achieving the main objectives of the event:
1. Delivery of first class operations to 150 players from 39 countries and delivery of high-level competition with some of the top-ranked players in the world. BRIDGE: Bauke Muller (NED), Sjoert Brink (NED), Sylvie Willard (FRA), CHESS: Levon Aronian (ARM), Radjabov Teimour (AZE), Hou Yifan (CHN), Koneru Humpy (IND); DRAUGHTS: Alexander Georgiev (RU), Alexey Chizhov (RU), Zoja Golubeva (LAT), Nina Hoekman (NED), GO: Choi Chulhan (KOR), Li He (CHN); XIANGQI: Wang Tianyi (CHN), Chen Lichun (CHN).
2. Increase of the visibility of the event in China and worldwide through broadcast media. There was a significant growth in broadcast interest both within the host country China and overseas. An estimated 70 million households watched the Xiangqi and Go finals as CCTV-5 China aired key events for the first time. Host broadcaster Beijing TV showed at least 2 hours per day for eight days and provided an international feed. The same coverage was available on eleven international media platforms including Setanta Africa, ESPN Star Sports in Asia, Digisports Turkey, Ring TV Bulgaria and Solar Sports Philippines reaching 64 countries around the world.
3. Increase of the online and onsite activities. The participation in the online tournament increased 37% compared to last year and reached 380 000 players. A record 1.7 million games were played on Bridge Base Online. In addition, as part of the Social and Educational Programme, 5 visits by delegations of different sports and 5 visits of students to the venue took place during the event.
The long-term goals of the event will focus on the following strategic priorities:
- Asserting the position of SportAccord World Mind Games as the world's leading platform for mind sports by attracting further the world’s best players every year, and looking at long-term growth opportunities such as the consideration of new sports to the current sports programme;
- Expanding educational initiatives with schools and universities to increase popularity of mind sports with youth in China;
- Growing/stimulating participation in mind sports globally through expansion of initiatives on digital platforms.
The next two editions of SportAccord World Mind Games in 2013 and 2014 will take place in Beijing, China.
SportAccord World Mind Games Official Partners:
Press Release - SportAccord
|Copa de Invierno de Go||Open||19-20 Jan.||Academia Cubana De Go|
|2do Intercambio de Amistad de Go Cuba-Eua||Invitation||16-17 Feb.||Academia Cubana De Go|
|Campeonato Nacional de Go (Qualification for the WAGC)||Invitation||16-17 Mar.||To Be Defined|
|Torneo Nacional de Wei Qi||Invitation||April||Casa De Artes Y Tradiciones China|
|Copa Academia Cubana de Go||Open||11-12 May||Academia Cubana De Go|
|18 Copa de Verano De Go||Open||17-18 Aug.||C.S.O Gerardo Abreu Fontan Abreu|
||Open||12-13 Oct.||Academia Cubana de Go|
|Torneo Internacional De Go “San Cristobal de La Habana”||Invitation||2-3 Nov.||Academia Cubana de Go|
The ambassadors of the upcoming edition of SportAccord World Mind Games have been announced. Each of the participating sports; Bridge, Chess, Draughts, Go, Xiangqi will be represented and promoted by the following players;
Bridge: Sjoert Brink; From: The Netherlands, 2012-No. 6 World Bridge Games Open Teams,
No. 2 European Open Team Championships-2, No. 1 Bermuda Bowl-1, No. 16 World Knockout Teams Open, No 6 Mixed Swiss Teams
Chess: Hou Yifan; From China, FIDE Title: Grand Master, Woman Grand Master, No. 1 female under 18 and No. 3 female active player in the world
Draughts: Alexey Chizhov; From: Russia, 10-time World Champion (individual), 4-time World Champion (teams), European Champion (Blitz) in 2007, European Champion in 2012
Go: Missingham Joanne Jia Jia; From: Chinese Taipei, No. 1 Women Champion in Taiwan,
4 victories in tournaments in Taiwan in 2012, No. 1 in women’s selection tournament in 2010 Asian Games, No. 1 Oceania Toyota and Denso Cup in 2008
Xiangqi (Chinese Chess): Chan Chun Kit; From: China, Asian Grand Master, International Master, Bronze Medal of 2nd World Mind Sport Game (Xiangqi Men Team), Champion of 2009 and 2011 Hong Kong Open Xiangqi Tournament (Grade A).
The ambassadors will be the faces of their sport during the event; they will play key roles in the Cultural and Social Programme of the event as well as represent their sport in the traditional and social media. To find out more go to www.worldmindgames.net
SportAccord World Mind Games are a multi-sports event which highlights the great value of mind sports. The world's best players deliver top-level performances and create new valuable experiences based on intelligence, strategy and exercise of mind.
During the 8 days of the event (12-19 December), there will be live broadcasts of the competition. The live broadcasts will take place on the following YouTube channel.
The go section of the daily coverage will be anchored by Chris Garlock of the American Go E-Journal. Michael Redmond, 9 dan pro, will provide live commentaries on the matches.
Here is the schedule of the go section of the live broadcasts:
• 12 December: 15:30 – 17:00 local time; 7:30 – 09:00 GMT
• 13 December: 17:00 – 18:00 local time; 9:00 – 10:00 GMT
• 14 December: 16:30 – 17:15 local time; 8:30 – 09:15 GMT
• 15 December: 16:15 – 17:00 local time; 8:15 – 09:00 GMT
• 16 December: 17:00 – 18:00 and 20:00~ local time; 9:00 – 10:00 and 12:00~ GMT
• 18 December: 17:00 – 18:00 local time; 9:00 – 10:00 GMT
The full schedule of broadcasts is available here.
Sponsored by the International Go Federation the 2012 International Go Symposium was held on the opening weekend of the U.S. Go Congress at Black Mountain, North Carolina on August 4-5, 2012.
A YouTube channel of video recordings of the event is now available on the 2012 International Go Symposium's website.
The Cuban Go Academy recently completed its last tournament of 2012, the InterAcademy Go Cup, with the participation of 20 players representing eight academies.
The winner was Mr. Kenishiro Kawaji 5-dan, a guest player from Japan. He works for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA.)
The online adjunct to the upcoming SportAccord World Mind Games attracted 688 go players from 48 countries, ranging from Argentina to Zimbabwe. More than half were from Japan, which produced last year's online winner, but this year the recipient of a free trip to Beijing is Chinese: Sun Naijing, who hails from Hefei in Anhui Province.
Mr Sun started playing go at age nine and kept it up through university studies and subsequent employment. 'Go never leaves me,' he says. In a go career spanning nearly four decades he has won numerous provincial amateur tournaments in Anhui and has thrice finished among the top ten in the massive Evening News Cup, China's premier amateur event. In 1996 he defeated Chen Linxin (9p) in the pro-amateur part of that event. 'I learn a lot by playing go,' Mr Sun adds. 'I like it.'
Mr Sun will join winners of similar online tournmants in bridge, chess, draughts, and xiangqi in observing the world's best players in action in Beijing next month.
On a Saturday afternoon, November 3, thirty-one pairs representing twenty-one countries/territories/continents sat down at the Hotel Metropolitan Edmont in Tokyo to play the first round of the 23rd International Amateur Pair-Go Championship. It was overall a young group, including two middle-school students, six high-school students, and nineteen university students. Ninety minutes later the round was over. The pairs from Korea and Chinese Taipei had defeated the pairs from Ireland and the Kyushu-Okinawa region of Japan, and the husband-wife Hiraoka pair, arguably the leading Japanese entry, had defeated the Japanese pair from Hokkaido. The Chinese pair did not participate this year.
And then the festivities began. The 62 players were partnered with 62 pair-go dignitaries, supporters, and volunteers, including a dozen or so professional players, for a pair-go friendship match.
National costumes were much in evidence, including the Irish leine, Japanese kimono, Japanese archers' outfits, Peruvian woolen ponchos, aboriginal costumes from Taiwan, dazzling Thai jackets, and striking traditional garments from Czechia, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, and the Ukraine. The friendship games were followed by a buffet dinner party with speeches, an award for the Japanese pair that won the gold medal at the World Mind Sports Games in Lille last August, and a toast to the continued success of pair go.
The next day play continued in earnest, without national costumes, but with fashion designer Koshino Junko heading a panel that judged the players' attire. On the go board, the pair from Chinese Taipei lost to a Japanese pair in the third round, but the Korean pair and the Hiraoka pair sailed undefeated into the fifth round, where they played the game that decided the championship. Nine-dan pros Ishida Yoshio and Michael Redmond gave simultaneous commentaries on the game in Japanese and English. Both commentators agreed that two forcing moves made by white (the Hiraoka pair) in the bottom right corner had been a mistake, giving up the opportunity to harass the black corner group. The Korean pair (Jang Yunjeong and Lee Hoseung) went on to attack and kill the adjacent white group, winning by resignation. This was the ninth championship for Korea in this event, including the last four in a row.
Japanese pairs monopolized second to seventh places, but the Russian pair (Natalia Kovaleva and Dmitriy Surin) and the European champion pair (Klara Zaloudkova and Jan Hora of Czechia) won their final games against Japanese opponents to finish tenth and seventeenth, respectively. The pair from Chinese Taipei (Lu Yu-hua and Tsai Tong-yu) dropped into eighth place by losing in the last round to the Japanese pair that finished third (Arai Naoko and Kuramoto Minoru).
And then the festivities resumed. There were prizes for the new Korean champions, including air tickets to Hawaii; prizes for the second and third place finishers; prizes for nine Japanese pairs who finished first, second, and third in each of the A, B, and C blocks in the huge parallel handicap tournament (130 pairs), and then the best dresser prizes, guessing game prizes, fellowship prizes, and lottery prizes, plus another sumptuous buffet dinner, all demonstrating once again that the Japan Pair Go Association not only know how to organize a good tournament; they also know how to throw a smashing party.
Full results and players' pictures are here.
Artem Kachanovskyi is the Ukraine's answer to Russia's Ilya Shikshin: a young player who is already a major threat to win every amateur tournament he enters. He spoke at length with Ranka before the awards ceremony for the 7th Korea Prime Minister Cup.
Ranka: When did you start playing go?
Artem: I started when I was seven years old. A couple of years before that, my father read a newspaper article that explained the rules. At the time, he thought I was still too young for intellectual games, so he waited for two years and then started teaching me. At first we -- my father, my older brother, and me -- learned together from books, by solving problems, and by playing. Rivne, which is my native city, also had, and still has, a go club and a go school for kids. There was a teacher there who liked go a lot and had many go books, and there were some stronger players, I guess you could call them a whole generation of keen players, who were studying go actively, so I had a chance to play with them and learn from them. Later my father became a go teacher for kids, but my brother stopped studying seriously and only played for fun.
Ranka: What big tournaments have you competed in?
Artem: I played in the European U12 Championship in Praha, Czechia when I was nine years old. As a 6-kyu, I didn't expect to accomplish much of anything, but I was surprised to take third place. That was my first serious tournament. I was studying go a lot around then. I liked it. I used to spend evenings with a go board and books, one of my favorite ways of spending time. Sometimes I would wake up at six o'clock to watch pro games or play go on the Internet. I first played in the European Go Congress in 2010. Although I still did not expect to win any prizes, I took second place among European players. After that people started to expect great things of me -- especially my parents. At the 2011 Congress I finished second again. Both times it was Ilya Shikshin who took first place. In 2010 I was one up going into the last round but lost by half a point to a Korean player and lost out to Ilya on SOS. In 2011 I played Ilya in the semifinal. I was winning for part of the time but I couldn't keep the game stable and lost.
Ranka: Have you been to Korea before?
Artem: I came to Korea in 2008 to study go for two months. After that, I've come for tournaments, but not to study.
Ranka: Do you find Korea much different from Europe?
Artem: Well, for one thing, Korean food is interesting but I'm not sure I could survive on a steady diet of it. Anyway, it's always very interesting to come to Korea, China, or Japan and try the food. As for the people, there are definitely some differences between Korean people and Ukrainian or European people. Perhaps Koreans are more emotional. Or perhaps they show their emotions differently, although the emotions are basically the same.
Ranka: Are you satisfied with your performance in this tournament?
Artem: No. I'm not satisfied with my play. I lost to the player from Canada, and in the other games, even though I won, I'm aware of mistakes that I made. I thought I could have played much better.
Ranka: Have you competed in the Korea Prime Minister Cup before?
Artem: Yes, I took fifth place two years ago. But it was an easier field then than this year. To me it seems that the European players on the whole were more successful in this tournament than they have been in the past. European players are getting better, especially young European players.
Ranka: What are your current activities, besides playing go?
Artem: I'm studying computer science at the Ukranian National University, and I'm now also working as a computer programmer. It's an interesting job, somewhat similar to go.
Ranka: What are your future plans?
Artem: I'd like to study go in Asia, and I'm hoping there will be a professional league in Europe soon, but all this may be just wishful thinking. The Ukranian Go Federation has to rely on Asiatic people. We get no financial assistance for popularizing go. At the big go school for kids in Rivne the teachers do get some remuneration but it's very small. The school still has more than a hundred students, but lately, go does not seem to be getting as much attention as it used to.
Ranka: Thank you, and we hope to hear more of you and the Ukranian Go Federation in the future.
One of the participants at the 7th Korea Prime Minister Cup was Shirin Mohammadi, a magazine designer and vice president of the Iran Go Association. Ranka spoke with her the evening before the tournament began.
Ranka: What are you doing at the tournament?
Shirin: I'm playing in it, but I'm also here to get more information about the game and make contact with overseas players on the behalf of the Iran Go Association.
Ranka: Please tell us more about this.
Shirin: People in Iran are very interested in mind sports in general. Lots of people play games like bridge and chess. Mind games are games that everyone can enjoy. I belong to an organization that is working to import and export games, and baduk is a game that we are trying to import. A year or so ago I was given the job of finding out everything I could about baduk.I wrote over a hundred letters to organizations all over the world. We have also been promoting the game by ourselves. When we hold sports and games events in Iran, and in other countries as well, we take those opportunities to introduce the attendants to the game of baduk. Quite a few of them become interested.
Ranka: That sounds promising.
Shirin: Yes, we now have an enthusiastic group of young people who are playing the game, but we lack someone to teach them. They can only learn from printed matter and the Internet.
Ranka: Do you play on the Internet yourself?
Shirin: Yes, I've been playing on the Internet for the past year. One of my best opponents is Jonathan Fisher, who is very kind in going over the games I play with him and showing me better moves. But you can't improve rapidly just by playing on the Internet.
Ranka: What do you need to do?
Shirin: What we really need is for some professional player to come to Iran to teach. It should be someone who is good at teaching and can communicate in English. It would also be a good opportunity for a professional baduk player to see Iran and experience Iranian culture and civilization.
Ranka: Have you found such a person?
Shirin: The Korea Baduk Association has been extremely helpful, donating sixty baduk sets, for example, and making it possible for me to come here, but we're still looking for a teacher.
Ranka: Thank you, and we wish you success.
Shortly after finishing his game in round six, Poland's mid-teen star Mateusz Surma spoke with Ranka.
Ranka: Have you enjoyed the tournament?
Mateusz: Yes, it's been a very nice tournament. I won four games, losing to Japan and the Ukraine.
Ranka: What happened in those two games?
Mateusz: I think I had a chance against at one point in my game with the Japanese player, but he is stronger. Against Artem Kachanovskyi from the Ukraine, I felt that we were playing at about the same level. The came was close for most of the way, but then he survived inside my territory and it was finished.
Ranka: When did you start playing go?
Mateusz: I learned how to play from my father when I was six or seven years old. I started competing in tournaments one or two months after learning. In the first tournament I played in I won all my games. Next I won the U12 division of the Polish championship, at age seven, which was considered sensational.
Ranka: What has been your best tournament so far?
Mateusz: The European Youth Championship last year. I won with a 6-0 score.
Ranka: Have you been in Korea before?
Mateusz: Quite often. I first came in 2009, studied for five months at King's Baduk School, and then returned to Poland. Since then I've been back to Korea several times, staying three months at a time, partly for visa reasons and partly because I have school exams in Poland that I have to pass.
Ranka: What are you doing now?
Mateusz: In Poland I'm in my second year in high school, and in Korea I'm studying at the Choong-am Baduk Dojang. I'm one of only three foreigners there. The other two are from America and France.
Ranka: How are you taught?
Mateusz: We play games and our instructors comment on them.
Ranka: What are your future plans?
Mateusz: I want to be a pro. In Korea or in Europe, it doesn't matter which. Playing go as a profession is my dream.
Ranka: Thank you and good luck.
After losing to Russia's Alexey Lazarev in the morning of the first day at the Korean Prime Minister Cup, Matthew Burral won two games in the afternoon. Ranka spoke with him between these two victories.
Ranka: First tell us a little about yourself.
Matthew: I'm studying civil engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.
Ranka: And please tell us about your game against Alexey Lazarev in the first round.
Matthew: It started with a complex fight that lasted most of the game. I felt he had the upper hand through much of the fight, particularly when I made a reading error that let him kill a group. After that, there there was a moment when if I had had more time to think I might have resigned, but I had no time, so I played a move, and then he made a move which made me happy not to have resigned. The fighting then continued, but just when I had a chance to take advantage of a mistake he made, I played a really idiotic move instead, and then I did resign.
Ranka: And what about your game in the second round?
Matthew: I played one of the Korea women (Ki Young-suk). They are supposed to be 7 to 10 kyu. It was not a hard game, but her opening was certainly better than 7-kyu level. I pulled ahead in the middle game, but a lot of her moves showed good shape. She was calm and confident and played as if there were nothing wrong.
Ranka: How many games do you hope to win?
Matthew: I'm out of practice, so I'll be happy to avoid any embarrassing losses. I don't have any plan of attack. I'll just try to survive.
Ranka: It's become unusual for the United States to be represented by a player who is not of oriental ancestry. How did you qualify?
Matthew: The qualifying tournament was the U.S. Open. I finished about fifteenth overall and fifth among U.S. citizens, so there were four players who had higher priority than me for representing the U.S., but they all turned it down. I was surprised when I got the call.
Ranka: How do you rate yourself against the players who finished above you?
Matthew: I won three games and lost three in top group at the U.S. Open. I'd say I'm within striking distance of the top U.S. players.
Ranka: Have you been in Korea before?
Matthew: Yes, twice. The first time was six years ago, when I spent three months at the Yang Jaeho Dojang. The second time was the summer between high school and university, when I studied with Kim Myungwan.
Ranka: How much did those experiences help your game?
Matthew: They were a big help, They made me much stronger.
Ranka: Are you glad you started playing go?
Matthew: Yes! Glad I started playing and glad I started studying the game. I guess I'd attribute much of my academic success to the problem-solving skills I acquired through playing go.
Ranka: Thank you very much.
Ranka spoke with the Japanese player, Kinoshita Nagatoki, aftr his victories over Mexico's Emilio Gutierrez and Turkey's Fatih Sulak in the first two rounds.
Ranka: Please tell us something about yourself.
Kinoshita: I'm a microbiologist at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research. My field of research is bioluminescence.
Ranka: Isn't that the field in which a Nobel Prize was awarded last year?
Kinoshita: Yes, to three researchers, one of them Japanese.
Ranka: Do you have many go-playing colleagues at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research?
Kinoshita: About ten.
Ranka: Please tell us about your go career.
Kinoshita: I started playing at age 11, learning the game from my father. Then I started going to go clubs. I won Japanese National High School Championship once the University Student Championship once, and a qualifying tournament for the Asahi Amateur Meijin once, but this is my first big international tournament.
Ranka: How were you selected to come?
Kinoshita: I took second place in the WAGC selection tournament last year, losing to Nakazono Seizo. As a result, he played in the World Amateur Go Championship in May, and ceded the opportunity to play in the Korea Prime Minister Cup to me.
Ranka: Is this your first trip to Korea?
Kinoshita: No, I've been in Korea before as part of university alumni go team that Mr Nakazono organizes.
Ranka: What is your general impression of Korea?
Kinoshita: Korea is rather like Japan. It would be an easy country to live in.
Ranka: And what are your hopes for this tournament?
Kinoshita: Last year Japan took third place, so I'd like to do as well this year. But what I'd really like to do is beat the Chinese or Korean player. Not necessarily both of them, but one of them.
Ranka: Thank you very much.
Postscript: After this interview Mr Kinoshita took a step toward realizing his hopes by beating Hong Kong's Chan Nai-san, but the next day he lost to the Korean player and then he lost the race for third place to Canada's Yongfei Ge by one SOSOS point. One can only speculate on what the result of a Ge-Kinoshita game would have been: both players had an outstandingly good tournament.