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.
The 26th Evening News Cup was held on January 6-12 in Xian, once the starting point of the silk road, now a center of China's software industry. The tournament is sponsored by the Chinese Weiqi Association and the China Evening News Journalists' Association. Although its financial rewards are modest (10,000 yuan -- about 1600 dollars or 1200 euros -- for 1st place) it is China's foremost amateur tournament because since 1992 the winner (or runner-up in 2002-2005) has represented China at the World Amateur Go Championship. The winner also receives a promotion to 7 dan and has the option of turning pro, as Qiao Zhijian did last year. This year the field included four former world champions who remained amateur: Sun Yiguo (1993), Li Daichun (2001), Hu Yuqing (2005, 2009), and Bai Baoxiang (2011). It also included 2010 WAGC runner-up Wang Chen, winner of the 120,000-yuan Chenyi Cup in 2011 and the Amateur Tianyuan in 2012 and ranked, along with Hu and Bai, among China's top four amateur players.
The Evening News Cup is both an individual and a team competition. Most of the players participate as members of three-person teams representing evening newspapers from all over China, their aggregate score determining their team's standing. The field (166 players this year) was divided into A and B blocks. An 11-round Swiss system in each block was followed by a two-round combined play-off for 1st to 8th places. The players played two games per day (one on January 8), with 85-minute time limits followed by 10-second-per-move overtime.
For the first five days block A was dominated by Wang Chen and block B by Hu Yuqing. Nobody could beat them. Wang downed Bai Baoxiang in round 7, and Hu defeated Qian Liuru, a rising teenaged star who contested the 2012 Chenyi Cup with Bai (Bai won), in round 6. On day six Hu remained invincible, winning block B with a perfect 11-0 score, but Wang lost twice, throwing block A into confusion: three players ended up with nine wins apiece and two had eight. SOS points sorted out the top three, putting Wang first, Jinglong Cup winner Li Ziqi second, and teenaged Cheng Honghao, master (mingren) of Anhui and Anqing in 2010 and 2011, third. Bai, who had lost to Cheng in round 10, squeaked into fourth place on a third-level tie-break.
In the semi-final round the next morning block B's No. 1 Hu defeated block A's No. 2 Li, but Block A's Wang, Cheng, and Bai prevailed over, respectively, the 2nd-, 4th-, and 3rd-place finishers in block B: Qian Liuru, eleven-year-old Wang Bo, and teenager Dai Zhitian. In the final round in the afternoon, Hu Yuqing won by resignation over Wang Chen to capture the cup, completing a remarkable week of thirteen straight victories against tough opponents, most of them about half his age. Li Ziqi beat out Qian Liuru for third place, Cheng Honghao beat Bai Baoxiang again to take fifth, and Wang Bo beat Dai Zhitian to take seventh.
On January 13 the top six finishers challenged strong professional opponents (Piao Wenyao, Jiang Weijie, Shi Yue, Tan Xiao, Nie Weiping, Xie He). Historically the amateurs, playing at handicaps ranging from even to two stones, have won more than half of these games. This year the amateurs took black with no compensation and the pros beat them on all six boards.
The team competition was won by a team representing the Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News, no suprise since the team members were Hu Yuqing, Wang Chen, and 2003 World Student Oza Champion Ye Lingyun. Best woman was Zhao Guanru, who finished 35th in block A. Veteran world amateur champions Li Daichun and Sun Yiguo turned in good results by finishing 7th and 12th in block B.
Sixteen university students from five continents assembled in Tokyo's Ginza on February 26 and 27 for the 11th World Students Go Oza Championship. The tournament is sponsored by the All-Japan Students Go Association and the Nikkei newspaper, with the cooperation of the International Go Federation. Also cooperating was Pandanet, which organized the online qualifying tournament.
The first round matched the eight players from the four big powers, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (one male and one female player from each), against eight players from Australia, Chile, Finland, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, and the U.S.A. (one player from each). All but one of these games were won by the big powers, but in losing, Finland's Antti Tormanen gave Korea's Kim Youwhan what he later described as his toughest match of the tournament. In the one game that the big four lost, Maojie Xia, formerly a student at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China and now studying accounting at the University of Montana in the U.S.A., bested Ouyang Yizhuo, the Chinese female player.
In the next round Maojie Xia nearly did it again. His opponent Go Risa, a former Japanese insei of Korean ancestry, won by resignation but she had to come from far behind. 'A miracle' was how she described her victory. Meanwhile. Serbia's Dusan Mitic handed Ouyang Yizhuo her second loss. In the third round Maojie Xia was back in form, beating Japan's Yanagida Tomoya, who had won the Japanese Students Top Ten tournament last November. Go Risa lost to China's Su Guangyue, Kim Youwhan bested his teammate Chae Hyunji, and Antti Tormanen beat Dusan Mitic.
That left only Kim and Su undefeated. Kim won the deciding game between them in the fourth round to take the championship, while Su took second place on tie-breaking points. Antti Tormanen took third place by beating Lin Hung-ping. This was fairly remarkable, because Lin had started the year by winning the Five Kings Cup in Taiwan, thereby becoming only the second woman in the history of go in Taiwan to earn an amateur 7-dan ranking. Go Risa beat Chae Hyunji to take fourth place, and Lo Sheng-chieh, Taiwan's male player, beat Maojie Xia to take fifth.
The new World Student Oza Kim Youwhan is a student at Myongji University, majoring in baduk, that is, in go. He hopes to make a career of promoting the game after he graduates. 'I was suprised at the strength of the players from countries outside the professional zone,' he said. This sentiment was echoed by Go Risa, who added that she had enjoyed the tournament because it gave her a chance to speak Korean. Runner-up Su Guangyue is studying law at the Shanghai International Studies University and hopes to open a go classroom for children in the future.
Complete results are here.
A group of 12 American players, including AGA President Andy Okun, visited Cuba on February 16th-17th for a friendship match with local players. Follows a report in Spanish by Rafael Miranda of the Cuban Academy of Go.
El sábado 16 y domingo 17 pasado; se celebró en la Academia Cubana de Go, el 2do Intercambio Cuba-EUA, el primero fue en el año 2000,organizado por Peter Shotwell, en ese entonces 28 norteamericanos viajaron a la isla y el intercambio fue solo amistoso no competitivo como en esta oportunidad, donde 12 jugadores organizados esta vez por Robert Gilman, se entusiasmaron en conocer la Academia Cubana de Go y sus jugadores, el torneo se organizo en tres grupos, Grupo Dan, Grupo Kyu fuerte y Grupo Kyu débil, en un sistema de 3 partidos diarios, dos en la mañana y uno en la tarde, a una hora finish con Komi de 6 1/2 puntos. El equipo norteamericano fue el mismo para los dos días de competencias; hubo dos equipos Cuba para diferentes días. El sábado 16 ganó el equipo norteño 24 por 9 donde Cuba solo supero en el Grupo Kyu Débil y el domingo 17 repitió la victoria los del norte esta vez 20 a 13 siendo Cuba superior en los Kyu Fuertes. En el grupo norteamericano integraba la nómina Andy Okun 1 Dan, presidente de la Asociación Americana de Go. Los partidos fueron muy buenos y en oportunidades bien reñidos. Durante la semana se estuvieron realizando partidos amistosos y entablándose una relación de amistad muy bonita entre visitantes y nacionales. Este intercambio dejó la perspectiva de seguir desarrollándose en próximas ediciones.
Last February 10th, the Mexican Go Association together with the Chess National School held their first Under 15 Youth Tournament. We had participants from Lancaster School, Chess National School and Pipiolo Art School accompanied by their respective teachers: Emil García, Iván Olguin and Siddhartha Ávila. It was a great event were the children got the chance to play with kids from different schools, backgrounds and styles. The event was mainly dominated by the students from Pipiolo school which also belong to the Mexican Go Community and have more experience competing. The surprise was given by Chess School student Angel Calvo, whom with little experience finished second. “This is the first of many steps to come in the road of linking the different sectors that are promoting youth Go in Mexico”, Mexican Go Association organizer and teacher Emil García reports.
1st - Leonardo P. - Valdovinos Pipiolo Art School
2nd - Angel Calvo - Chess National School
3rd - Samuel Suaustegui - Pipiolo Art School
The Mexican Youth Go Community drew 31 pairs to their first Pair Go Tourney, held in December in Mexico City. “The kids wanted to play go with their parents but they didn’t know how, so they asked us for workshops and lessons,” reports organizer Siddhartha Avila. “Then we thought, why not make go an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family, this way each family will spread the game even when their kids grow up and leave elementary school. We had a great response, with pairs including the kids, parents, relatives, or friends,” said Avila.
1st -Mariana (5th grader) and her mom
2nd - Melanie (2nd grader) and her dad;
3rd - Diego Armando (1st grader) and his mom.
A special thanks goes to the Principal Marcela Zepeda, Go teacher Marcos Arámbula and Israel Rodriguez President of Asociación Mexicana de Go, who helped with the pairings.
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.